Wokingham Decorating Services - Reliable, Experienced Decorator based in Wokingham


On this page I'll try to answer as many questions as I can, particularly the sort of question I am often asked before starting a job.

The answers are set out below under the following headings:

  • Availability
  • Recommendations
  • Type of work
  • Costs/pricing
  • Timing
  • Other

If you have a specific question which is not covered here, please do get in touch


Although it's not guaranteed to be kept 100% up to date, you can find an indication of when my next available time is at the top of the home page.


Why couldn't I find you on "Check-a-Trade", "Trust-a-Trader", "The Little Green Book", etc?

The reason is simply financial. What a lot of people don't realise is that most of the so-called "trusted recommendation" web sites are basically another form of paid advertising. It's not at all unusual for them to charge in the region of £700 per year for your business to appear in their directory. If I put my business in three or four of those, I'd be spending close to a month's income each year. That's fine for bigger firms who have budgets for that sort of thing, but for me it simply isn't viable.

Additionally, while they position themselves as "independent trustworthy guides" for people, once you realise that all the listings are paid for, you begin to wonder just how independent they really are. To get a great profile on one of these sites all I need is £700 and a few friends to write me recommendation letters...

As a result, I get most of my business from real recommendations, either from people who have used my services recommending me to their friends and neighbours, or simply from the same people booking me again and again over time.

If you want to read some quotes from genuine customers, please feel free to have a look at my references page.


What type of projects do you usually take on?

Generally I take on what you might think of as "cosmetic" work.  What I do doesn't alter the structure of your home (like a builder might), or how things function (like a plumber or electrician). What I mostly do is to do with how your home looks.

Typically, the things I spend most of my time doing are painting and decorating. That might be a whole house or flat, or it might be just one room.  Equally, it's not at all unusual for me to be asked to wallpaper a single wall after a customer has already painted the rest of the room.

In addition to painting and wallpapering, I'm happy to take on small tiling projects, and have built up quite a lot of experience with carpentry work such as replacing skirting boards and architraves, hanging/replacing doors, and laying laminate flooring.

Occasionally, when it is part of a "total room makeover", I am also asked to include putting up shelves, blinds, curtains, pictures, mirrors, light fittings etc.  I'm happy to do this as part of a bigger project, but not as "stand alone" jobs.

What about exterior work?

I'm more than happy to take on exterior painting, as long as it is easily and safely accessible from a ladder.  However, the challenge with exterior work is the British weather.  While the work itself may be straightforward, planning it into a diary can be very challenging.  Because the weather is so unreliable, it's very hard to plan this sort of work more than a day or two in advance, so if you have an exterior project, please understand that I may need to move the project around in our diaries if the weather is being uncooperative.

What if I have a job that's not on the list?

If your project doesn't fall under the general heading of painting and decorating, then there's a pretty good chance that I'm not going to be able to help you out.  By all means get in touch and ask the question.  If I can help I will, and if not I will try to point you towards somebody else who might be able to.

What about plumbing and electrical work?

Both of these are a big "NO" for me. It's not that I don't understand how to do the work, as I have done my fair share in the past.  Firstly I'm not insured for this type of work.  Secondly, when I have done it in the past I'd lie awake for weeks afterwards worrying about whether I'd left a customer with a problem, and frankly I don't need that type of stress.  And thirdly, I have plenty of work of the type that I'm good at and enjoy, so why would I want to spend my time doing something that I'm not great at and hate doing?

Having said that, if plumbing or electrical work (or for that matter plastering, kitchen fitting or more major building work) are needed as part of a project, I have a list of trustworthy, reliable and experienced local tradespeople that I can call on to help out, so if it's needed for a project, I can make it happen. 

And if it's only a question of changing a light fitting  or an electric socket plate (i.e. a "like-for-like" replacement) as part of a room makeover, then of course it's not worth calling out an electrician, and I'm happy to help out if I can.



How much will it cost?

I always like to provide customers with a written estimate in advance, particularly on larger jobs.  This is made up of the amount of time involved and my daily/hourly rate, plus the cost of any materials needed to complete the job.  These are all broken out separately, so you can see in advance not only what the job will cost, but also how I arrived at that figure.  Where appropriate I quote room-by-room, so if customers decide not to go ahead with the whole project at once, they can budget accordingly.

What about materials?

I can source all the materials needed for the job, and as stated above, show you in advance what they will cost.  I add a small mark-up to the materials I supply, to reflect the time spent selecting the right materials and ordering/buying them.  On the estimate I detail all major items separately so you can see the cost of each, and add a small charge for "sundries", to cover the cost of sandpaper, masking tape, brushes etc.  Again, this is clearly shown on the estimate.

Alternatively, if you prefer, I can use materials that you have sourced.

What if the job takes longer than you expected?

An estimate is just that; an estimate.  The final cost may vary slightly from the estimate, but I've been doing this for long enough now that my estimating has become pretty accurate.  If however, during the course of a project it becomes apparent that it is going to take significantly longer than originally anticipated, or that additional materials will be needed, I will advise you straight away.  It is then your decision as to whether you wish to continue or not.  "Significantly" means an increase to the overall cost of more than 15%.



How quickly can you come out?

This will always depend on how much work I have on. I will usually try to get out to look at a job, discuss with you what it is you want to achieve, and measure up for an estimate within a week of you contacting me, assuming we can find a mutually convenient time to do this.

In terms of actually starting the work, this really is totally dependent on how many other projects I have booked in my diary.  As stated above, an indication of my next available time can be found on my home page. Once you have approved my estimate, I will agree a firm start date with you and put it in my diary.  If for any reason (such as illness or another job taking longer than expected) I am unable to start on the agreed date, I will try to advise you as soon as possible.

How long will the work take?

In order to put together an estimate for you, I will have worked out a rough day-by-day plan for the project, so I can advise you before I start how long the job will take.  Obviously this will vary depending on the size and scope of the project, but I should always be able to give you a pretty good idea in advance.

Will I have to wait in all day for you to arrive?

No, I will always agree a convenient start time with you in advance, and try to be flexible in order to fit around your other commitments. If for some reason I am delayed, I will try to 'phone you to let you know.  If you don't want to take time off work, or you want the job completed while you are away, I can arrange to collect your keys from you, do the work, and then return your keys to you later if you wish.


Are you fully insured?

Yes, I have a full £1m public liability insurance, as required for the type of work I do. I am happy to show you my insurance certificate if you feel this is necessary.

How do I know you're trustworthy?

On the majority of jobs, there is only me - I'm a "sole trader".  There are therefore not usually any sub-contractors, and the only person on your property will be me, and you will have my full contact details, including my home address.  I've added some references (or quotes from reference letters) to the web site, and I am CRB checked ("police checked"), as I am a youth football coach in my spare time. I am happy to show you the original references and CRB document if you wish.  On a large job, if I need to bring in extra help, I will personally introduce you to everyone, and explain to you what they will be doing on-site.